Saturday, September 22, 2012

O-Day! Update!

So Saturday was ordination day!  When dawn came, the day did not seem to hold too much promise; the sky was gray, and it was drizzling.  Still, my wife and I loaded my alb into the car and began the drive to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.  Of course we had to stop and fortify ourselves with Dunkin Donuts coffee (iced for Peg, hot for me)!

We made good time on the road, and arrived at the Cathedral with a half hour to spare.  Peg went up to the main floor, while I went into the lower chapel to get robed.  Some of my brother Candidates where there already, along with the clergy persons who would be helping them vest in their stoles and dalmatics.  A deacon, who is a member of my Secular Franciscan fraternity, was to be helping me vest when the time came.

We were all called to go up into the Cathedral's Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, to spend some quiet time in prayer, in preparation for the ceremony.  I found myself saying the Jesus Prayer, to try to keep my mind focused; and myself open to God's grace.

The ceremony began with a procession from the back of the Cathedral to it's sanctuary, I saw some familiar faces.  The liturgical music was beautiful, the liturgy itself was moving, and Cardinal Sean O'Malley's sermon was inspiring.  Then came the moment when each of us knelt before Cardinal Sean, and he laid his hands on each of our heads.  He is famous for taking his time with this part of the ordination rite, and he was true to form.  Yet, for me, despite the time he took, I had a feeling of timelessness.  The Cardinal and I were in a special moment, when the Holy Spirit was now active and powerful.

Then it was over, but the remaining liturgy still had it's own power, it's own meaning.  Peg brought up my vestments, Deacon Joe helped me put them on.  And there I was, no longer just Jonathan Jones, but now Deacon Jonathan Jones, standing with my fellow Deacons.  Other Deacons of the Archdiocese of Boston came up, gave us the sign of peace, and welcomed us into the Fraternity of Deacons.

Later, at Communion time, I was the minister of the Cup, that held the Blood of Christ, giving it to all who came up to receive.  I held in my hands the Presence of Christ, another very powerful moment.

After the liturgy, there was time for pictures, for greeting friends and relatives.  Then came the time for celebration, for blessings, for toasts, and maybe eating a little too much.  And finally coming home, both Peg and I tired but happy with the day's events.

So now I am Deacon Jonathan, Deacon Jones (God, that sounds like the name of a football player, or rap star)!  I am forever changed, yet unchanged.  I will have to wake up on Monday, and go to work.  I will still have my health and other issues that will keep me up at night.  Yet, I am also someone called by Jesus and His Church, to proclaim the Good News by word and deed.  To serve the People of God, with whatever talents or skills I have; enhanced by the grace that comes through the Holy Spirit.  It is the beginning of new chapter in my and Peg's life.  St. Francis and St. Clare pray for us!

UPDATE:  The Archdiocese of Boston's media center, CatholicTV,  has released a video of the ordination ceremony.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Countdown: 4 Days to O-Day

Today, I came across this reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans:

“Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love  one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor.  Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.  If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.” (Romans 12: 9-18)

These are words that should guide all of us who call ourselves “Christians,” but even more so for those of us who will soon be called “Deacons.”

Monday, September 17, 2012

Countdown Continues - 6 Days to O-Day!

 The day of Ordination is coming up fast.

Last week my classmates and I gathered in the chapel of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center to practice celebrating a Benediction; and to go over the Baptism rite for children.

When it was my turn to put on the cope and humeral veil, I chanted the prayers, and then went up to the altar, took the monstrance and performed the blessing.  As I lifted the empty monstrance up in the blessing movement, I realized that soon, I may be doing this for real.  It was both exhilarating and humbling at the same time.

Saturday, I went to the 4:00 PM Mass at the parish I might be assigned to.  It was a nice celebration, well attended, with good music.  As I looked over the congregation, I saw people, whom I would be called to serve.  Waiting to speak to the pastor, I found myself easily engaging in a conversation with a parishioner.  A good sign I hope.

Sunday, this morning, I sang with my home parish choir for the last time.  As I am gaining a new parish community, I am separating from another.  And there is sadness with that experience.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Countdown - 20 Days To Diaconate Ordination

Sunday, September 2, 2012, I was at the 8:30 AM Mass at my home parish.  I was the lector for that Mass; it will be my last time as a lector in the parish.  When my next rotation comes up, I will (God willing) already be an ordained deacon, serving in my assigned parish.

One of the Sunday readings is from the Letter of St. James.  In that reading, this passage struck me: "Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves."  Scripture is more than a collection of stories, psalms, and preacher's letters.  It is God's Word, given to inspire us to lives of holiness, lives of hope.  Scripture is a dead letter, only if we fail to be "doers of the the word," and let the Scripture we hear remain echoing in a empty church, and not living it in our homes, our offices, on the streets, and in the marketplaces.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Countdown Continues: 21 Days to O-Day!

There is now 21 days left before my classmates and I are ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of Boston.  On August 29th, we gathered, with our wives, at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center for Evening Prayer.  After which, we Candidates made a Profession of Faith; then with our wives each holding a Book of the Gospels, we took our Oath of Fidelity, with our hands on the Gospels.  This was followed by us signing documents, testifying to the professions and oaths we had just made.

Something stirred within me as I proclaimed my faith, and then made my oath, with my wife beside me.  After so many years of studying, praying, and discerning, the final lap of the journey is here.  With everything else going on in life, I need to stay focused on what lies ahead.  I need to keep my heart open to God's grace, His guidance, His strength.